Archive for the ‘ideas’ Category

diy design wall

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

I recently made a few upgrades to my home sewing space, which is really just half of my large bedroom. You’d think that having a fully stocked classroom at my shop would be enough, but as it turns out, being able to sew at odd hours in my pajamas makes me a much more productive quilter!

I added a little cutting table–this Ikea desk turned out to an excellent cheap option that would be wide enough for a 36″ x 24″ cutting mat and high enough (with its adjustable legs) to not kill a quilter’s back.

Then for a design wall. My mom suggested using insulation boards, which turned out fantastic. Here’s how it went.

2, 4′ x 8′ x 1″ insulation boards from Lowe’s (barely fit in the back of my SUV, fyi)
1 cotton/poly Queen sized batting (I had a couple inches uncovered at the bottom, King would fit generously)
hot glue gun + lots of glue

cost: $45

time spent: 1 1/2 hours including shopping
I simply cut the batting in half…cutting batting

wrapped it around the boards…batting + insulation = design wall

and hot glue-gunned it to the back.glueing batting

I didn’t attach it to the wall because I like that it can be portable. It’s lightweight so I can easily move it for use at our deck sewing parties. It’s thick enough to stick pins into, unlike regular foam core board. And it’s almost as tall as the ceiling so I can make a big quilt without having to take over a carpeted room of the house.finished design wall

And as it turns out, being able to get the blocks up and see  progress is just what I needed to finish my projects faster.

color-it-in pockets tutorial

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

There are several fabrics that have arrived lately that are begging to be colored on, graphic two-tone prints like this one from Alexander Henry that call to my inner crayon artist. When Kathy showed me this blog post where they colored on Summersville, I knew I wasn’t the only one who thought so. Just check out the adorable video their family made on making a tote bag and pencil case with fabric you’ve colored yourself.

We were inspired, and got to work on another colored-in bag project. We picked up these Stained Sharpie fabric markers recently at Wal-Mart and used them to color on It’s a Hoot in Black/White, which we then added as a row of pockets on the Reusable Grocery Bag by Aunt Martha.

grocery tote with pockets

The Reusable Grocery Bag is the perfect blank slate to play with, and we really like the Sharpie fabric markers. No bleeding, the brush tip didn’t fray–definitely recommended.

This is a fun way to add some cute fabric and utilitarian storage to all sorts of totes. Here’s how we did it.



Prepare materials.
Square your fabric to 6″ x WOF, which will give you 5″ deep pockets. Use a wider piece if you’d like deeper pockets. Then, this is the fun part: color your fabric! coloring
Go as crazy as you want.
color it in

Press edges.
Press both long edges of your fabric under 1/4″, and 1/4″ again.
pressI debated turning them under just once, but decided to sacrifice laziness for not having to deal with fraying seam allowances.

Stitch down the hem along the top edge.

hem top

Then pin the bottom edge to the bag, about 2 1/2″ from the bottom of the bag.

pin bottom

Where the ends meet, trim selvedges off so the ends overlap about 1″, and line the overlap up on one of the bag’s side seams.

pin sideFold under the top edge, press, and pin down.

Edgestitch the bottom edge to the bag (about an 1/8″ from the fold).

sew bottom

Sew up the side seam. Create the pockets by sewing vertical seams up the fabric, about 4″ apart.

stitch pockets

Adjust the distance between pocket seams to accomodate for items you know you might want to put in the pockets: a thinner pocket for a phone, or a really skinny pocket for a pen. Press your seams to set, and voila!
Handy pockets all the way around your bag.
voila!Now fill your bag with all those things you don’t want to forget, and go shopping.

velveteen pillows

Friday, March 30th, 2012

rosie's velveteen pillowSome of my favorite days at the shop are when my sister Rosie comes to hang out there. She had to tear herself away from her rigorous studies recently to make herself a pillow with some Loulouthi Velveteen, because really, who can resist that stuff! The texture of the velveteen that you can’t keep your hands off of and those vivid Anna Maria Horner colors are a magical combination.Rosie’s choice was Clippings in Lichen. rosie zipperedShe finished it off with a zipper for super sleekness. Zippers are a pretty new thing for her, but she whipped it out like a pro. We loved it so much that she made a pillow for us too, using ZigZag in Aztec.amh chair A half yard was perfect for making a 16″ pillow using the faux down pillow forms we keep in stock.  She made sure to pin it well since those velveteen layers can shift easily. pinAnd it was just a simple right-sides-together sort of thing with a zipper connecting the bottom edges.

cornerNow we have an Anna Maria Horner pillow for our Anna Maria Horner chair. Thanks, Rosie!amh chair

sewing clothing with loulouthi needleworks

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

How’s that for a self-explanatory post title? Anna Maria Horner’s Loulouthi Needleworks prints are so cool you have to hardly do anything to them to turn them into something pretty and useful. Just sew up the sides and cut a boatneck like Ashley did for a cute new shift dress!

loulouthi needleworks dress
I followed our Exposed Waistband Skirt instructions but left out the pleating for this one.

loulouthi needleworks skirt

The added twist was that I used black mini-ball fringe to trim the hem! Seemed to add to the gypsy feel of the skirt without being too crazy.

mini-ball fringe!I dare you to try it with regular sized pom pom fringe. Not really. Wait, there probably is someone who could pull that off without looking silly. Just not me.

loulouthi bed makeover

Monday, July 18th, 2011

loulouthi bed 2

Of the few things I take very seriously, my sleep is one of them. My bed has such a heavenly mattress that I love it a little more than a person should love a thing.  And of course, my comfy bed has got to be pretty too. (I totally believe that the aesthetics of our environments affect our mood.)  So the transitioning of the winter comforter to the summer comforter was the perfect time for a bed makeover.

loulouthi bed

For me the simple, right-sides-together duvet cover has become the go-to when I want something for my own bed but there’s not enough time (or I’m too impatient) to make a new quilt. When you have a large print to show off it’s especially perfect. I had been dying to get my hands on the the huge-scale prints in the Loulouthi collection in particular. The tricky thing is, a queen duvet cover requires 2 widths of fabric, and with prints this big they had to be matched. It turned out much better than I anticipated, only needed about a foot of extra fabric and I just pinned before sewing. Barely noticeable!

see the seam?

And since I like to change things up a lot, the back has a contrasting print so I can flip it if I’m in a more purpley mood.


The fabric particulars:

My duvet cover sewing tips:

  • Don’t bother squaring up until after you’ve sewn the two sides together. When I square up first, by the time I’m done sewing the sides and top together, the bottom don’t match up anyway so I have to square up again before hemming.
  • As in making pillow shams, if you make your duvet cover slightly smaller than the duvet, the corners will stay put and be nice and full.  My duvet is 82″ square, and I usually make my duvet covers about 81″ square.
  • Closing the bottom a foot or two in from the sides helps keep everything in place too, plus there are less ties to tie and there is still plenty of room to fit it over the duvet. I usually do this by hemming the bottom, then sewing it closed near the sides with the same seams that I sew my ties on with.
  • If you’re lazy like me, use narrow twill tape instead of making ties.  I prefer ties just because once I had duvet cover buttons that would not stay done up.  For this project, it looked better than the grosgrain and satin ribbons I had on hand and saved lotsa time.

If you’ve got duvet cover sewing tips too, please add them in the comments!

before & after

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

I hope our little teaser didn’t make you think we actually reupholstered that chair ourselves because we certainly didn’t. We did scavenge it from the Deseret Industries ourselves. But all the real work was done by John Hart & his dad at Rocky Comfort in Logan, who we enthusiastically recommend, btw.  What a transformation!





We had them change the oh-so-80s ruffle to a more modern box pleat. And boy are we so in love with this chair now! (I think the husbands in the shop like having a soft seat to hang out in as well.)  It took about 3 yards of Lovesme Lovesmenot in Leaf from Anna Maria Horner’s Innocent Crush home dec collection.  Free Spirit, who makes AMH’s fabrics, does such a good job with their home dec weight stuff. They use soft heavyweight sateen that would be pretty awesome for a sturdy bag but isn’t so heavy or rough that you couldn’t just put it in a quilt.  But we’re having visions of EVERYTHING recovered in fabric now that we’ve got a good upholsterer. Watch out!

velveteen, round 2: scarves scarves scarves

Monday, December 20th, 2010
With the morning snow, foggy nights, and frost on the windows (I just thought that was just a thing on tv but it’s real!) there’s no such thing as too many scarves or too much warm velveteen. Leave it to Anna Maria Horner to combine the two, and perfectly in her tutorial for the Figure 8 scarf.  It’s lovely in so many ways. They look so good with 2 simple wraps around the neck, but there are endless ways to style them (hood? shawl? in a knot?).  It’s an affordable way to use the velveteen, and quick to sew so you can give them as gifts and keep several for yourself.  Which is exactly what I’ve done.
figure 8 scarf #1

scarf #1 barely finished

I made the first one with Lovesme Lovesmenot in Golden Velveteen on one side and Mixed Signals in Cornfield Voile on the other side, especially for my friend Ali on her birthday. Before wrapping it up I had to try it on and I almost couldn’t let it go.

ali models

Ali models hood style

I promptly made another just the same for myself.  But of course I needed another combination…  This one features Maybe in Memory Velveteen and Shattered in Sun Voile.

figure 8 scarf # 2

scarf #2 all for me

Then Erica conconted this combo with Woodcut in Crimson Velveteen & Designer Solids in Water Voile for another gift, which I’ll be needing to make for myself as well, of course.

figure 8 scarf #3

We love them so much, and have had enough requests, that we’ve cut kits for these scarves.  Each one takes a length of 2 yards each of velveteen & voile, but doesn’t use the full width of fabric, so cut into kits this project much more affordable than having to buy the yardage.  We have made our scarves slightly more narrow than AMH’s, which cuts the cost a bit more, but still keeps the scarf plenty full.  These 3 combinations are available now, with more to come soon (and/or as requested).

scarf kits

The kits are cute enough that you wouldn’t even have to sew it up before giving it as a gift, give them the box and they can make it themselves!

Check out our scarf kit selections, and visit Anna Maria Horner’s blog to learn how to make the Figure 8 scarf. And if you make one, show us how you style it to make it your own! Take of photo modeling your scarf and add it to our Flickr pool!

When your people are far from you, sometimes you just have to sew for them.

Monday, September 6th, 2010

Two amazing friends and their kids were about to move across the country (Miss you, Mylers!), and I just kept thinking of those hours in the car, and what they might want to listen to. So I burned some cds and made these little sleeves for handy keeping.

cd envelopes for lo

I chose fabrics from Alexander Henry, Anna Maria Horner’s Good Folks, Art Gallery’s Filligree, & Tufted Tweets and loved how they just went together.

Thinking I might want to recreate them sometime, I started taking notes, but this is as far as it got


because it was pretty simple, really. For each cd envelope, I used heavyweight fusible interfacing inside & made 2 identical 5″ pockets that I just slipped inside each other and sewed closed around the top. I quite liked the result and may be making more of these for little gifts, and for the cds that get tossed around my car.

Then there was a package to send to California for my dear friends who always act as home when I just need to get back there for the beach and some good shopping.  These new Kaffe Fassett prints (Ombre and Radiation) in the Pastel colorway were just calling to be made into something for them, as they could go with all the vintagey pastel kitchenware they have.

coasters & napkins I ended up making 16″ square napkins and 4″ square coasters. It was a simple right-sides-together-turn-inside-out-and-topstitch kind of project. The coasters have some heavyweight interfacing for sturdiness too.  Looking at them does kind of make me want to have a picnic at the beach.

Been making any hand-sewn gifts lately? Show us in our Flickr Pool!

stitched holiday wrapping

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

You’ve spent all that time crafting a totally personal, unique, handmade gift. So why not wrap it up in one-of-a kind handsewn gift wrap too? Or if you didn’t quite have time for handmade gifts this year, this is a quick way to spiff up that present with just a touch of handmade care. Not to mention, it’s a great way to recycle paper grocery bags and other paper around the house.


Let your creativity run wild and try whipping up some custom stitched gift wrap with instructions at our Stitched Holiday Wrapping tutorial.

the perfect gift

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

As the shopping days left till Christmas wane, we are still finding more decorations to put up and trying to finish those last handmade gifts, not to mention scrambling to get in our online shopping before the shipping deadlines. If you feel like we do, and don’t have an extra moment to dream up the perfect gift, consider some suggestions.

amy butler software


quilt romance














1 - Amy Butler Softwares : $29.29 : for the techie sewist
With over 22 fun projects & patterns in Amy’s modern style, we find this pretty irresistable.

2 - Kaffe Fassett’s Quilt Romance : $24.95 : for the book snob sewist
This is Kaffe’s newest book, with breathtaking photos and quilt patterns that will go straight to that must-do list.

3 – Kinkame European Taupe II Quilt Kit : $55.10 : for the world-travelled sewist
Soft colors to pacify any room with this wall-hanging sized quilt kit including fabric and pattern.

4 - Sweet Harmony Handbag Pattern : $12.95 : for the trendy sewist
The latest and greatest bag pattern from Amy Butler, best of all, this bag definitely won’t have that “home crafts” look (you know what we mean).

5 – Mother Earth & Her Children Puzzle : $18.95 : for the game-loving sewist
This puzzle is based on the award-winning quilt that will amaze long after the puzzle is finished.

6 – Rouenneries Jelly Roll : $35 : for every sewist
French General’s Rouenneries fabric collection has pleased young and old alike. Here we have every print in a sweet little bundle.

7 – Paper Dollies : $16 : for the young-at-heart (or just young!) sewist
Just because you’re grown up doesn’t mean you can’t play with toys on Christmas morning!

8 – Liberty Of London Tana Lawn : $36/yard : for the sophisticated sewist
For someone who won’t indulge on themselves but should, 2 yards of a Liberty print can become a runway worthy blouse or skirt.

My mom has a rule: no shopping for yourself before Christmas. I haven’t quite adopted that rule myself, and with stuff like this around, how could I?

Just remember, orders must be placed by Sunday, December 20 to arrive by Christmas Eve with Priority Shipping.